WYOMING — Hoping to dispel misconceptions about the nature of a natural gas pipeline gate station, UGI Utilities officials held a press tour at their Monument Gate Station on Wednesday to explain its function and security.
Gate stations and compressor stations are two of the most common structures built along pipelines to assist in moving natural gas. While compressor stations propel the gas through the network of pipelines that cut through the country, gate and/or metering stations host the intersections of the crisscrossing lines.
As part of the pending Auburn Pipeline construction, UGI Utilities applied to the state Public Utilities Commission last month to install a gate station where the new pipeline is to meet the existing Transco Pipeline.
The Monument Gate Station, built sometime in the 1950s next to the Wyoming Monument off Wyoming Avenue, reduces pressure from the Transco — the interstate line that begins near the Texas coastline and travels up to New York City — from about 1,100 pounds-per square inch to about 60 psi, a pressure suitable for distribution to consumers.
“You need a station to connect, to measure pressure and to regulate (the flow of natural gas),” said Joe Swope, UGI Utilities communications manager. “That’s literally all these stations are for.”
Swope said the West Wyoming metering station would be used to measure UGI Energy Services gas purchased from drillers in Wyoming County and sent down the Auburn Pipeline to where it connects with the Transco.
“The only difference between the proposed station and the (Monument Station is that) we’re going to take the gas from the Auburn Pipeline, meter that, put it into Transco and take it back out about a mile down the line (for consumer distribution),” Swope said.
The nearly 30-mile Auburn line is being laid by UGI Energy Services. UGI Energy Services and UGI Utilities, including Penn Natural Gas, are sister companies.
Although the Monument Station is equipped with pressure-reducing regulators, the proposed station, which must allow gas to move uninhibited into the Transco, will have a control valve that can be activated remotely, said UGI Utilities Project Manager Bruce Davis.
At a gate station, the pipes come up from the ground, run through regulators and gauges to measure flow and then go back into the ground. Most gate stations are enclosed to keep these components out of the weather. Davis said that as part of regular safety measures, all components are taken apart and inspected annually.
Swope said the proposed pipeline and gate should result in nearly $3 million in savings to the distribution area because UGI will not have to pay to move gas across the country. He could not specify how the savings will translate to individual customers because many things affect what consumers pay, including volatile gas rates. If nothing else, the station will aid price stability, he said.
Swope said the pipeline should reduce transportation costs, which account for about one-third of the sticker price for gas.
“When you can get local supply, you’re saving consumers money,” Swope said. “You’re going to see a lot more stability in the price of gas … for the foreseeable future.”